Whether you are a professional athlete or an amateur, I presume at some point you may have felt some pain on the bottom of your foot. Today, I would like to highlight this problem because many athletes have consulted me with this problem.
This is one of the most common foot injuries that can develop as a result of recurring stress on the heel of the foot. It is termed as plantar fasciitis in medical terms. It is the most common cause of pain in the foot and is particularly likely to occur among athletes and runners.
The pain that results from this condition can often greatly affect the athlete’s performance and inhibit them from any physical activity. This condition often develops gradually from overuse. The ligament affected attaches at the heel bone and runs almost the entire length of the foot.
When weight is applied to the foot, it causes the ligament to flatten out and become taut. With excessive, repetitive stress, the ligament starts to pull away from the heel bone, which is when tears and inflammation can develop.
Chronic cases can also lead to heel spurs, which are bony fragments that develop from the heel bone and can cause significant pain as they dig through tissue during movement. These types of injuries are particularly prone to occur among runners as well as other athletes.
Symptoms of this condition may include a dull aching or sharp pain in the heel as well as throughout the foot. When moving the affected part during running, jumping or simply moving the toes upwards, pain can become very pronounced.
Pain is also present after weight is placed on the heel after long periods of rest, such as after waking up from bed in the morning or standing up after prolonged sitting. During walking, the affected ligament “warms up” and lengthens, reducing some symptoms of pain.
Factors that can lead to this condition are having a foot curved either too high or too low, having a tight Achilles tendon, obesity, or exercising with unsupportive shoes. Treatment for this condition can often be done through simple means.
Rest is a key treatment method, making sure to avoid, or at the very least limit exercise to help the ligament heal. Foot support is among the most successful treatment options and can provide significant relief while helping to treat and reverse the condition.
Some supports are specifically designed to add structural support to the foot and help to stretch the ligament to reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is also a treatment option and can offer many techniques to relieve pain and facilitate healing.
Other treatment methods may include losing weight, icing the heel, using anti-inflammatory medications or gently stretching the inflamed area. Despite being such a common condition, some of those that have this condition may not even be aware that they have the condition, which is why it is important to not only realise the signs of the condition, but also become familiar with the ways to prevent plantar fasciitis and to avoid injury from overuse. The writer is a physiotherapist, Mathare United [email protected]